In today’s environment, what is presented as truth is often suspect. “Alternative facts” and accusations of “fake news” abound, and truth is lost in the way people spin a story. Therefore, it is good to remember what our patron, St. Benedict, said about truth: “There is nothing better to display the truth in an excellent light, than a clear and simple statement of facts.”
And thus perhaps there is nothing better to display the truth of our school in an excellent light than a clear and simple statement of facts that starts with our name. “St. Benedict Elementary School” is an accurate name. But it does not tell the whole truth.
An elementary school, as stated in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is a “school including usually the first four to the first eight grades and often a kindergarten.” Yes, this is what we are. But it is — and please excuse the pun — only the most elementary version of what constitutes our school. The truth is that we offer a rich and rigorous curriculum in the classical tradition. We go beyond rote learning by equipping our children with the tools they need to think analytically and critically, to value education, and to be captivated by learning itself from a young age.
Yet because a solid academic education is only part of our mission, we also build upon the virtues our students learn first from their families and communities –service to others, kindness, the pursuit of excellence. And, yes, the virtue of truth.
Practically speaking, we are growing and want to continue to grow. We want to better position ourselves in the increasingly competitive educational landscape. To support these efforts, our school name should clearly articulate our focus and help set us apart from other schools. Our name also should be accurate, be true.
Therefore, we return to the dictionary for a few more definitions:
Classical – concerned with or giving instruction in the humanities, the fine arts, and the broad aspects of science;
Academy – a school offering specialized instruction.
So in considering the name of our institution, we rely on the words of St. Benedict, and better display our truth by a clear and simple statement of facts: we are St. Benedict Classical Academy.